Guest Blogger: Dave Gaedele, Savings Guru
Cord cutting…it’s becoming one of the more-trendy pursuits for people, these days. No, I don’t…um…necessarily mean a specific event during birth of your child. What I actually mean is in regards to your home entertainment viewing habits. With these costs spiraling out of control and little real competition, you may not realize there are lots of other live TV-viewing options for you, if you are thinking of ditching cable.
Before I get into that, this journey has gone on for more than 10 years for us. Our family has changed from one cable/satellite provider to another and back again. Bright House to U-verse to Dish TV back to Bright House back to U-verse and then to Spectrum – whew — each time turning to the next company and next deal when the old promotional pricing expired. (We even went without cable for about a year-and-a-half, at one point, and used antennas for local channels…not a bad idea if you want to maximize your savings.) When our most-recent cable company increased its rates by more than 15% and would not even consider negotiating, I finally had enough and wanted off of this merry-go-round.
Now everyone knows about Netflix and Hulu for your “binge-watching” pleasure (we also have those services), but are you aware of the various live TV streaming services out there? Sling TV, Hulu Live, DirectTV Now and YouTube TV are just a few of these ever-growing “niche” service providers that are available today.
I’ve been researching the live TV streaming market for over a year, trying to better understand each player’s place in the market, what strengths and weaknesses each had and how they matched up to our viewing preferences. When I became more serious, over the past few months, about switching, my research ultimately brought me to YouTube TV. And, on March 5, we signed up for their free 7-day trial! I am so glad we did!
What ultimately brought me to this decision? Keep reading!
Everyone is familiar with YouTube’s standard video service. Who hasn’t giggled at the latest funny cat video that has just gone viral? But now, as of early 2017, YouTube has branched out into the live TV market, and they have begun to carve out a place for themselves.
What you additionally might not know is that YouTube (and YouTube TV) is owned by the parent company that owns Google. I can say I have found that YouTube TV is just as easy to use as Google’s search function, which I go more into, below. Also, as I already mentioned, you can try YouTube TV free for 7-days with no obligation and, if you decide to go with them, there are no contracts. You can cancel at any time!
YouTube TV can be viewed on many devices. Any PC, laptop, tablet or phone (both Android and Apple) can be used to access the service. There is also a Roku app and/or you can cast it from your phone via a Google Chromecast or Apple TV. (Sorry, Amazon Fire Stick users. No dice. Amazon and Google don’t play well together!)
YouTube TV’s interface is extremely user friendly and very intuitive, whether you are on your phone, your computer or on the Roku app on your TV. And moving from live TV to recorded shows is a snap. Speaking of recording, compared to the other offerings, YouTube TV provides more flexibility with unlimited cloud storage with programs being able to be stored for up to 9 months, and you can simultaneously record an unlimited number of shows, too! That’s pretty awesome!
For families or if you have roommates, you can create up to 6 separate accounts and up to 3 of those can be streamed simultaneously! And you can take it on the road with you!
One of the great things we like is the actual TV package they offer. If you are a sports nut (as we are), you will love the many of ESPN and Fox Sports networks they provide. They also just added MLB Network and NBA TV, as well. And, if you like the Turner stations and Disney Channels or can’t get enough of the political fighting on Fox News, CNN or MSNBC, YouTube TV is the right place for you. And your local affiliates are all included, as well, if you are in one of the top 90+ markets in the US. In all, there are over 50 of the most popular channels to choose from.
At $40 per month, it’s a great bargain for us. We’re saving $75 per month by dropping cable (we have three TVs, each had its own DVR box) and using YouTube TV. Just remember that, when comparing overall costs, to not forget that you do need to maintain a stable internet connection. (Our cost is $65 per month with the local provider.) You may also need to get a Roku, Chromecast or other streaming device to be able to stream but those are one-time costs that are quickly recouped with your savings.
On that note, you may be thinking “yeah, but what about the quality?” Well, in the 3 weeks we have used YouTube TV, I have seen very few issues with buffering or picture quality, and this is in a house where we suck up bandwidth with 2 adults, 1 full-time child and 1 other child who regularly is home from college and loves to “game” online. With all of that, we are still enjoying the same 1080 HD quality that we had with cable – at least my eyes can’t see any difference.
All-in-all, for the price, channel package, ease of use, transferability to multiple devices and TVs, quality and no contracts, I have been extremely happy with my choice to finally “cut that cord!” Try it, you might just like it!
– Dave Gaedele
No one was paid a promotional fee for this article. Dave just enjoys saving money since we have two teenage drivers in the house!